I have been advised – one of you will doubtless correct me if this is just an urban myth, I haven’t found time to try it myself – that if you toss a penny 10,000 times, it will cope up heads about 4,950 (not 5,000) times. The heads picture weighs more, so ends up on the bottom.

I would also like to point out (you can win a few dollars betting on this one) that Nevada is further west than Los Angeles.


Craig: ‘The picture of Charles on the IBM site – is he wearing two watch bands, one on each wrist? Where else does he need to know the time?’

☞ Several of you asked this. No, the watch is one that costs more to clean than mine cost in total. And what looks like a second watch is a plain leather band a girlfriend gave him.

Lynn Smith: ‘Wow, what a looker!! My mental picture of him was completely different. Anyhow, inquiring minds need to know if he’s wearing one of those Walgreen’s denim shirts?’

☞ Surely you jest. (Although it would have looked every bit as good.)


Item 20: The Contrarian Approach

Being a contrarian – that is going against the consensus, buying stocks no one wants, is certainly a viable market approach. But there are 3 important caveats: First, the popular view that the consensus is always wrong is not true. They are always wrong at market tops and bottoms, but for most of the middle stages of major trends the consensus is right. Second, the consensus opinion is sometimes murky and difficult to determine. And third, a stock out of favor may stay out of favor. It is a buy candidate only if its problems are likely to prove temporary and it has a distinct prospect of going up within a reasonable amount of time.

Item 21: CEOs On Their Own Stock

The head of a company is often the worst source of advice regarding his own stock. His recommendation is based on an intimate knowledge of his company and industry, not the stock market. Even the best stock should be bought only at a reasonable price. The company CEO doesn’t know from price levels. Just buy his stock regardless of price because things are either good or about to improve. He has to believe that (at least publicly) to please stockholders and keep his job. This is not to say his optimism may not be well-founded. Only that Wall Street uses different criteria than he does to evaluate his stock. The same can be said about most CEO interviews on television. Like politicians, CEOs are adept at dancing around hard questions. The company officer has his own agenda – to make good news sound even better and to put bad news in the most favorable light. The interview often turns out to be a PR release with the usual corporate spin.


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